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Controlling ESD Through Polymer Technology

SpecialChem / Jul 19, 2004

Static electricity cannot be avoided. Hundreds of times each day, Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) events occur without notice. Many ESD events are well below the human sensitivity threshold of 20,000 V. Unfortunately, an increasing number of electronic components are susceptible to damage from lower and lower voltage levels. This trend will continue as consumers demand more compact products, circuit densities increase and component size decreases. Event levels as low as 20 V can damage some of the most sensitive components. As the use of polymers and other insulating materials continues to increase, the number of ESD events will also likely increase. Since it is impossible to eliminate polymers from the electronics industry, designers must learn to utilize polymer chemistry to control ESD. This article will introduce designers to the basics of ESD as well as the polymer technology options commercially available to minimize the risk of ESD damage. Static electricity occurs when an object has too many electrons or when an object is lacking electrons. Objects with excessive electrons carry a negative (-) charge while objects lacking electrons carry a positive (+) charge.

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